Thursday, May 31, 2012

Computer Laws

        Computer Laws

          Moore’s Law: Computer hardware doubles in speed and capacity every 18 months.

Gates’s Law: Computer software doubles in languor and bloat every 18 months.

The Cyber-Siesta: Computer boot-up time remains a constant 60 seconds over many computer generations. Show me a petaflop machine, and I will show you a machine that must do 60 quadrillion floating-point operations just to turn on.

          Hellerstein’s Limit:  If you keep your computer loaded with the very latest software, then over its lifetime it will do at most twice as much work as it did in the first 18 months.
          Proof: 1 + ½ + ¼ + 1/8 + 1/16 + …  =  2

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Our To-Do List

     Our To-Do List

     What are we humans here for? I propose that the Gaia, a self-adjusting biosphere, cultivated our evolution to perform four tasks. We are well on the way to completing the first task, we have started on the second, and we have made plans for three and four.

     The first task is:
     Reclaim Carbon.
     There are vast stores of carbon abandoned underneath Earth’s surface, in the form of gas, oil and coal. Meanwhile the planet has been suffering from recurrent ice ages. Greenhouse gases would prevent more ice ages; these gases are released by fire, which our kind is good at making. Our kind survived several ice ages by the use of fire, and in the current interglacial, we have been taking steps to ensure that the ice does not return.
     Some have theorized that ancient Chinese rice farming released enough methane to ensure that the North American continent is not now under a kilometer of ice. So we’ve been changing the climate for a long while now; to our advantage.

     So far; but excess would be to our disadvantage. If we burn up enough oil, then the climate will warm, the icecaps will melt, the oceans will rise, and this will flood out the coastal cities…

     … and thus self-limit the process, in true Gaian cybernetic style!
     Assuming that civilization survives completing the first task, then our second task is:

     Eat the Asteroids.

     By asteroids I mean the Earth-crossing asteroids. There are hundreds of them out there, boulders and flying mountains, all playing tag with our planet. Every hundred million years or so one of them collides with the planet, and  there’s a mass extinction. This is an intolerable state of affairs, and I propose that we do something about it.
      So I say that we set our greediest corporations, run by our most ambitious billionaires, out on a quest for gold and glory. Let them mine the Earth-crossing asteroids to oblivion in search of precious metals, but also carbon and water, just to keep the operation growing. Let them blast and smelt and leave behind rubble.
      Thus they’ll save the planet, and at a profit too. How Gaian!

       The first task is well under way, we have started task two, but so far we can only speculate about tasks three and four:

                Terraform Mars.
                Move Earth Out.
        For the Sun is warming up, and in a billion years time it will warm Earth enough that water will escape its atmosphere, and the oceans will dry up. Yes, that’s only a billion years, not five billion years. Four gigayears lost! An intolerable state of affairs; something must be done.
        So we, or someone at least as clever as we, ought to move Earth’s orbit out from the Sun, and do so before a billion years are up. I’m not sure we’ll be the ones to do it; it’s too easy to temporize.
        But I am mildly confident that we could at least terraform Mars. It’s not a job for a corporation, nor even a government; it would take a religion. But I think we could do it, and so reproduce Gaia; and we’d do it just to have neighbors to complain about. Again, how Gaian!

On Time Bombs

                On Time Bombs

            This blog post continues earlier blog posts about time paradoxes. Here I simplify them to their technological minimum.
            Imagine, as before, that there are time-phones, capable of sending a signal to the past. Consider a Time Bomb; that is, a bomb, whose trigger signals to the bomb through a time-phone. The Time Bomb, if triggered, explodes before it was triggered. This would destroy the bomb, and the time-phone, and the trigger; therefore the bomb was not triggered; therefore it did not explode; therefore it was triggered; therefore it did explode; and so on!

Is the Time Bomb ever triggered? And does it ever explode? I know of two resolutions to the paradox: odds-bending and alternate worlds.
In the odds-bending hypothesis, the time bomb’s trigger is never pushed, no matter what.  If the trigger is otherwise easily pushed, this means that improbable events can intervene to prevent the triggering. If you set up the trigger to go off automatically unless event X happens, then this bends the odds in favor of event X. This effect has obvious technological uses. 
           In the alternate-world hypothesis, there are two parallel worlds, one in which the bomb explodes and so does not send the trigger signal to the other bomb, which doesn’t explode and does send the signal. To observers in either universe, the time bomb either explodes without signaling, or signals without exploding, seemingly at random. They can’t predict the outcome beforehand because both outcomes come true.
            Which hypothesis is correct? Or is it a mixture of the two; odds-bending up to a point of high improbability, and then alternate worlds? My own speculation is that the transition probability is about 1 in 10^100; that being the measured density of cosmic dark energy, divided by the theoretical density of vacuum energy, given quantum mechanics.
            So I speculate that the Time Bomb’s trigger almost never goes off; that strange events prevent triggering; but if events would have to be too strange, (that is, less than one chance in a googol) then the trigger goes off after all and the bomb did not explode, or the trigger does not go off but the bomb explodes; and this result at random.

Friday, May 25, 2012

3 Sogwa Adventures: Arrrggh!


            Sogwa said, “Where is she? Where’s Hannah?”
            She looked on the table. She looked on the couch. She looked under the cushions.
            “Where is she?” Sogwa said. “Where’s my Hanny?”
            Poor Sogwa! Normally so bright and brave, now so small and scared. She looked for her Hannah doll, but couldn’t find her. She’d lost her favorite toy, and she felt awful.
             She thought she’d left her Hannah doll in her lunch box, as usual, and she looked, but Hannah wasn’t there. Nor was her Hannah on the shelves, or in the closets, or under the sink.
             Sogwa searched her bedroom. Her Hannah wasn’t in the dinosaur diorama, and Sogwa knew this because she asked all the tiny dinosaurs, and they all sqeaked, “No Hannah here.” Sogwa looked in the castle, the beach house, the pet store, and the shoebox; but Hannah wasn’t there, nor in the necklace box, or the cabinets, or the clothes drawers, or the toy chest. Sogwa looked on the Moon, but Hannah wasn’t there; nor was she in Transylvania, or under the sea, or on the spaceship. Sogwa searched her library, from bottom to top, but Hannah was reading neither the encyclopedias on the floor or the old baby books near the ceiling. Sogwa even looked in the Blue Basket, where the Old Favorites rest. But no Hannah.
            She squeaked, “Where is she? What’ll I do? How’ll I live without my Hannah?”
            Sogwa’s Dad talked it over with her. He said, “Let’s use the process of elimination. Is your Hannah doll at school? At aftercare?”
            “I saw her there. I know. I looked at my lunchbox at recess.”
            “If it’s at school, then we’ll check lost-and-found tomorrow.”
            Sogwa moaned.
            Her Dad said, “Maybe it’s in the car, or at the store.”
            Sogwa cried, “I looked in the car! I looked all over the car!”
            Her Dad said, “If you left her at the store, that’s not so good.”
            “Where would she be?”
            “But that’s as good as gone!” Sogwa wailed.
            Her Dad hugged her and patted her and said, “Don’t worry. We’ll find it, or else ...”
            “Or else what?”
            “Or else we won’t, you know. But even if we don’t, we do have another Hannah doll.”
            They went to the Blue Basket, and sure enough the just-in-case replacement Hannah doll was there. “But it’s not the same,” Sogwa said, clutching the doll to her chest anyhow.
            Her Dad said, “It’ll have to do. I checked the Web, and they don’t make that kind of doll anymore. You’ll sleep with that one tonight, and check lost-and-found tomorrow. And Mommy has already called the store. Tomorrow, if we must, we’ll call the police.”
            Sogwa ran to the living room, clutching the replacement Hannah doll, even though it wasn’t the same. She ran back to the couches to look under the cushions again.
            In her bedroom her Dad said, “Huh!” Then he called, “Come here, dear.” When she arrived, he said, “What’s this?” And he flipped back some of the covers on her bed.

            “IT’S HANNAH!” Sogwa yelled, flinging the replacement aside.

             Sogwa hugged and kissed Hannah, while her Dad picked up the replacement and put it back into the Blue Basket. Then he smiled, and he kissed Sogwa. He said, “So Hannah was folded into the covers on the bed, right? All this time? The whole day?”
             “Yes,” said Sogwa, rocking her doll.
            Sogwa’s Dad said, “Aha! But you saw Hannah at school, right?”
            That was a poser. “I thought I did.”
            “Exactly! You thought so! It was the thought you saw!” He leaned close, tapped her on the head. “You had all the Hannah doll you needed, in your mind.”
              Sogwa and her Dad then agreed that it would be best to make Hannah a house doll, and not bring it to school every single day, and risk maybe someday leaving it who-knows-where.

            The next morning, there was a funny kind of switch. Instead of Sogwa getting up as usual to go to Sogwa school, taking her Hannah doll, it was Hannah who got up and went to Hannah school, leaving the Sogwa doll behind.
            Sogwa napped on the bed, perfectly content. Then she heard a strange sound; a kind of whooshing and hooting. It came from the Blue Basket; the one that held the Old Favorites.
            Sleepy Baby’s eyes opened. They glowed blue. Sleepy Baby’s head turned once around. Sleepy Baby said, “Join us...”
            The other dolls in the Blue Basket whispered in unison, “Joiiinnn usss...”
            Sleepy Baby said, “It’s safe here...”
            The other dolls moaned, “Saaaaafe...”
            Sleepy Baby said, “Join us...”
            The other dolls wailed, “Jooiiinnnn usssss...”

             But Sogwa said, “Not yet.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

3 Sogwa Adventures: Time Out

            Time Out

            Sogwa was visiting the sea-view deck at Fort Funston. It had been a busy day for her; she had walked a long way. Her paws ached, her legs were sore, and even her tail was tired.
            It was midday, which is sleepy-time for cats; and it was warm; so she went to the secret clubhouse clearing in the bushes. There in the cool and the shade she sat and closed her eyes.

            Suddenly Time stopped. Waves stopped splashing, the wind stopped whistling, the windsock stopped flapping, leaves of the bushes stopped rattling, people stopped talking, the seagulls hovering in the stiff sea breeze stopped going SCREE SCREE, and a boy’s bouncing rubber ball froze in midair. The world was as still as a picture.
             Sogwa too was frozen in the moment of time, so she couldn’t move; not left, not right, nor up nor down; so instead she went inwards. Sogwa entered the Forest Behind The Eyes.

             It was weird in the Forest Behind The Eyes. Lightning flashed in a cloudless night sky. The moon was full, and wolves howled. Snakes hissed and rattled underfoot. Owls with sharp beaks and claws dived at Sogwa. Undead monsters dug themselves out of the ground. The trees had skeletons hanging from them. Sogwa went to the very center of the Forest Behind the Eyes, where it was darkest and scariest, where she found the Castle in the Woods.
            The Castle in the Woods looked millions of years old, and it smelled it too. There were hoots and creaks and screams. It had spooks, cobwebs, scuttling bugs and eeking rats. There were trapdoors to a black hole underfoot. One corridor had a stream of blood running down the middle, with vampire bats lapping at it. Another hall was full of disembodied hands scuttling around. Another hall had plaques on the wall, each one with a head, and the heads on plaques bounced off the wall and chased Sogwa into another hall, where she ran right into a moving knight statue. She bounced off it and ran, yowling, up a spiral staircase. The pictures in that staircase had eyes; and those eyes tracked her as she passed.

              The highest room of the highest tower was the throne room. There Sogwa found an old man with a long white beard. He was sitting cross-legged in the middle of the air, hovering five feet above a big poofy pillow. His eyes were shut and he was quietly humming.
            Sogwa said, “Who are you?”
            The old man murmured in his sleep, “Father... Time...”
            Sogwa said, “What is Time?”
            “Cheese... cheeese...” Father Time moaned in his sleep. “Olld... stinnky... cheeeese...”
            Sogwa jumped high up, and hollered “HEY, WAKE UP!” right into Father Time’s ear.
            Old Father Time went “unh!” He snapped open his eyes, and fell five feet butt-first onto the pillow. He landed on the pillow at the same moment that Sogwa landed on her feet.
            The air in the pillow leaked out with a loud FWEEEeee... 
            Sogwa and Old Father Time politely kept quiet while the pillow had its say. When it was done, they talked.
            Father Time said, “I must have been dreaming.”
            Sogwa said, “You said that time is cheese.”
            “How silly!” Father Time laughed, then said, “I change my mind.”
            “Then what is Time?”
            “Change of mind.”

             Just then Sogwa noticed something funny. She noticed that her upper eyelids were touching her lower eyelids. Her eyes were shut, closed tight shut, and they’d been shut for awhile; yet she could see Old Father Time as plain as day.
             Somehow he didn’t look so old anymore. Father Time, now much younger, smiled and waved at Sogwa.  But how could she see him so well with eyes tight shut?
            “Oh!” said Sogwa. “I must be dreaming!”

            So she opened her eyes.
            She opened her eyes and she saw.
            She saw that she was at Fort Funston.
            She was at Fort Funston, in the secret clubhouse clearing.
            She was in the secret clubhouse clearing, and Time had started up again.

            Waves splashed, wind whistled, the windsock flapped, leaves rattled, people talked, and seagulls, hovering in the stiff sea breeze, went SCREE SCREE. A boy’s rubber ball fell to the ground and bounced, bounced, bounced.
            Sogwa rose to her feet and stretched. She arched her back, bristled her fur, showed her claws and yawned wide. She’d had her nap, and it was time to go.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

3 Sogwa Adventures: The Pirate Gold Adventure

           The preceding blog ends a series of poetry posts. I'll end this week with three stories starring Sogwa, my daughter's favorite cat-doll, and Mischief, her batty friend.


          The Pirate Gold Adventure

            Sogwa and Mischief met one day in the City That Only Kids Can See, also called the Kiddy City. They were shopping for Halloween, the Kiddy City’s biggest holiday. Halloween there is celebrated twice; with trick-or-treating and with freaky house parties.
            Sogwa said, “Maybe I’ll get a pirate costume.”
            Mischief said, “Then what’ll I go as?”
            Sogwa teased, “Why not a parrot?”
            Mischief said, “No!
            Sogwa mewed, “Aw, you’d make a great pirate’s parrot!”
            Mischief squeaked, “No!! Besides, there were no pirates!”
            “Oh yes there were!”
            “Oh no there weren’t!”
            Sogwa said, “Yes there were, and I can prove it by finding pirate gold.”
            Mischief said, “You’ll never find any pirates, or any pirate gold.”
            “You wanna bet?”
            “All right, you’re on!” said Mischief. “For what stakes?”           
            Sogwa thought about it. “How about, one hour tidying up the winner’s house.”
            “And the winner gets a new movie disc?”
            So that was their bet.

            But how to learn the truth about pirates and their gold? Sogwa and Mischief went to visit their friend, the Sphinx Cub, daughter of the Sphinx, who knew kiddy-riddle magic.
            The Sphinx Cub told them, “To learn the truth about pirates and their gold, go to the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid in Egypt. There summon two cat-god spirits; one will be good, the other one evil; make sure which one is which! Destroy the evil spirit, listen to the good spirit, and then take a time trip.”
            To speed them on their way, the Sphinx Cub taught them these riddle-spells; the Chicken, the Walls, the Fireman, the Days, the Dog, the Elephant, and the Woodchuck.
            Sogwa and Mischief thanked the Sphinx Cub, then left to begin their quest.

             Mischief said, “What’ll we start with?”
             Sogwa said, “Why not the Chicken?”
             Mischief said, “Okay! So riddle me this. Why did the chicken cross the road?”
            Sogwa said, “To get to the other side.”
            A portal opened, and it took them far away; for they had done the Teleportation Spell.

            They teleported to the base of the Great Pyramid in Egypt. From there they went through the entrance, and down a dark corridor. Squeaky Mischief lead the way, seeing by sonar. He took Sogwa down, down, down to the King’s Chamber.
            Mischief said, “Now let’s do the Walls.”
            Sogwa said, “Okay! So riddle me this. What did one wall say to the other?”
            Mischief said, “Meet you at the corner!”
            Two spirits appeared; for they had done the Summoning Spell.

The spirits were twin cat-gods, one good, one evil. Which one was which?
            Sogwa said to the spirits, “Are you really what you seem to be? Can you prove that you exist? Maybe you’re a dream, or an illusion, or a trick. Prove to me that you’re for real!”
            The spirit on the right said, “How dare you question me! I am always right! Obey me!”
            The spirit on the left said, “Of course you can doubt me. Listen, and judge for yourself.”
            With a loud yowl, Sogwa attacked the spirit on the right. She clawed, she slashed, she hacked, she did kitty kung-fu. Mischief hung upside-down in a corner and watched. He was glad to stay out of her way. Soon Sogwa was in a cloud of shredded ectoplasm.
            “Where is it?” she screeched.
            Mischief said, “It’s gone.”
            “I was just getting started!”
            “You’re done.”

             So Sogwa calmed down, sat down, licked her paws, and purred. She said to the spirit that was left, “O wise and good spirit, please help us! Find us the pirates and their gold.”
            The good spirit said, “To learn more about pirate gold, go down that hall.” It pointed to a hallway, then vanished.
            Sogwa and Mischief went down that hallway. At its end they found a wall, with a map carved on it. The map was of the pirate’s Caribbean hideout.
            Sogwa and Mischief memorized the map; then they retraced their steps, and left the Great Pyramid. Once they were under open sky they did the Fireman Riddle.
            Sogwa said, “Riddle me this. Why does a fireman wear red suspenders?”
            Mischief said, “To hold his pants up.”
            They flew off into the air; for they had done the Levitation Spell.

             Mischief and Sogwa flew far and fast. They hurtled a quarter-way around the world, and landed in the Caribbean, on an island, on a sandy beach. There were no pirates there anymore; so it was time to do the Days Riddle.
             Mischief said to Sogwa, “Riddle me this. Which month has twenty-three days?”
            Sogwa said, “All of them!”
            They teleported back in time to the pirate days; for they had done the Time-Travel Spell.

             When they saw the pirates, the pirates saw them. Right away the pirates attacked, waving cutlasses. To defend themselves, Sogwa and Mischief did the Dog Riddle. Sogwa said, “Riddle me this. My dog has no nose; so how does he smell?”
             Mischief said, “Terrible!”
            A horrible odor arose; for they had done the Stink Spell. The pirates fled the stench. They ran to the dock and onto their ship. Once aboard, they aimed their cannons.
            To defend themselves, Sogwa and Mischief did the Elephant Riddle. Mischief said, “Riddle me this. What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence?”
            Sogwa said, “Time to get a new fence.”
            The pirate ship shattered into flinders; for they had done the Demolition Spell.

             The pirates swam out of the wreckage of their broken ship and paddled to shore. Mischief said to them, “Surrender now!”
             Sogwa said, “Surrender and we promise to fix your ship!”
            How could the pirates refuse an offer like that? They surrendered.

            Mischief said, “Now tell us! Where’s your pirate gold?”
            Darkbeard, the pirate captain, said, “Our gold?
            Sogwa said, “Give us the truth!”
            Darkbeard said, “Arrr... the truth? That we can give ye.”
            Sogwa demanded, “What’s the truth?”
            Darkbeard said, “That there be no pirate gold!”
            Mischief said, “None at all?”                                        
            Once there be, but now no more!”
            Sogwa asked, “What happened to it?”
            “We spent it!”
            Mischief asked, “On what?”
            Darkbeard said, “On worthless junk! On gadgets that break! On talking toys and gnarly battle cards!  On software and upgrades! On the batteries not included! Arrr! We spent it on sneakers, baseball caps and T-shirts! We spent it on super-squirters, digital pets and bling! We spent it on a wide-screen TV! And of course we spent it on candy!
            Sogwa said, “Candy? But you’re grown men!”
            “Aye, candy! For sugar be rare and precious upon the high seas. There be a fine price for sweets. Most prized of all be the Food of the Gods!”
            Mischief said, “What’s the Food of the Gods?”
            Darkbeard said, “Chocolate! Well I remember when first I met the chocolate dealer. He said, the first M&M be free! So I tried one, and ever since then I be chocolate’s slave!”
            Sogwa said, “Is any gold left at all?”
            Darkbeard said, “What pirate ever saved money? We spent our last rusty zinc cent to buy half a Skittle. What be worse, that wide-screen TV, which cost a bloody treasure-chest full of gold, why it showed us an ad, and that ad was for a toy, and that toy costs two treasure chests full of gold! Arrr! Ye canna win!” And Darkbeard wept.
            But Mischief said, “What’s in all those barrels that are washing to shore?”
            Darkbeard said, “That trash? It be nothing but our scrimshaw. We had a hundredweight of fake whale-bone, we had knives, and we had time upon our hands; so we doodled a bit.”
            Sogwa opened a barrel. She said, “But it’s beautiful!”
            And it was. In their spare time, and on fake whale-bone, the pirates had carved pictures of fish, and seagulls, and dolphins, and whales, and billowing sails under a sky full of clouds. The pirate scrimshaw showed pursuits, and battles, and victories and defeats. Their scrimshaw showed beautiful sunsets and ugly pirates; and even the ugly pirates were beautiful.
            Mischief said, “This ought to be worth some money.”
            “Arrr...” said Darkbeard. “Even though it be fake?”
            Sogwa said, “It’s on fake whale-bone, but it’s real scrimshaw, so it’s real enough.”
            “That’s Art!” said Mischief.
            Darkbeard said, “And if I find a market for this here... art?”
            Sogwa said, “Then you shall eat chocolate again!”
            Darkbeard said, “Does art pay any better than piracy?”
            Mischief said, “It pays twice as well!”
            Darkbeard said, “But twice nothing still be nothing.”
            Sogwa said, “Will you try anyhow?”
            “Aye,” said Darkbeard, “if ye fix me ship, as ye promised!”
             Mischief asked Sogwa, “What’ll do it?”
             Sogwa said, “What but the Woodchuck?”
             Mischief said, “Okay! So riddle me this. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood?”
            Sogwa said, “A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would, if a woodchuck would chuck wood.”
            The broken wood flew into the air, and wove itself together, and rejoined to make a ship again; for they had done the Mind-Over-Matter Spell.

             Darkbeard thanked Sogwa and Mischief; then the pirates sailed off to market, with a cargo of real scrimshaw on fake whale-bone.
            Mischief said, “How do we get back to the Kiddy City?”
            Sogwa said, “Why not the Chicken?”
            Mischief said, “But that’s an old joke!”
            Sogwa said, “It was always old. So riddle me this. Why did the chicken cross the road?”
            Mischief sighed; then he said, “To get to the other side.”
            A portal opened, and they teleported back to the City That Only Kids Can See.

            Once home they admitted that they both won and they both lost.
            “For I said there were pirates, and pirate gold,” said Sogwa.
            “And I said there was neither,” said Mischief. “But there were some pirates.”
            “But there wasn’t any pirate gold,” said Sogwa.
            So they agreed to take an hour each tidying up each other’s homes. After that they got each other new movie discs.

             That Halloween, Sogwa went as a pirate, and Mischief went as a parrot.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beyond Adventure

    Beyond Adventure

           Those thud-and-blunder paperbrass sagas
            never said who cleaned up afterwards.
            How brave and destructive our heros were!
            (I always skipped the battle scenes
            to find out who won.)
            Our heros were on a mission
            and the end justified the means.

            But I dreamed of another kind of story:
            a story made of healing;
            of seedlings bursting pavement;
            of childhood spring dawn;
            of close encounters with life;
            of the wisdom that brings light
            and the courage that gives birth.
            I wanted to sing the saga of peace
            but I learned that peace is a true poem
            and true poems have no words.

            Therefore my peace dream remains untold,
            unknown, mysterious, and true;
            while the thud-and-blunder paperbacks
            (made of real paper)
            shout their loud red victory dreams.
            Thus they win a win; but no more.

            For true dream is beyond victory.
            True dream is beyond dream.
            The saga of peace ripens in silence.
            Joy is a song that sings itself
            when life surpasses adventure.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Job Interview; an Underfable

     Job Interview
     an Underfable
      Once upon a time, a troupe of unemployed gods sought work in the city of dreams.
      The masses listened to them and said, "You are all true."
      The philosophers argued with them and said, "You are all false."
      The magistrates haggled with them and said, "You are all useful."
      So the gods set up shop, and business was brisk.
     Moral: Give the customers what they want.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Unchain Letter

Unchain Letter

            THIS LETTER was sent to protect you from luck, both good and bad. Receipt of this letter confers immunity to ALL FORMS of chain-letter bribery and extortion. You are now free to break any letter chain, without consequence. This works even if you are superstitious.

            You may hold onto this Unchain letter indefinitely, along with the next chain letter that finds its way to you. You may send copies of this letter to friends; and you may also refuse to send copies. It makes no difference.

            This Unchain letter admits freely that it is, in fact, a joke; yet it is no less credible than any Chain letter now in circulation. The following claims are completely baseless and absurd. Take them or leave them:

            An R.A.F. officer received this letter in the mail; many years later he also received a chain letter. It promised him riches if he duplicated it, and poverty if he broke the chain. Foolishly he made 20 copies and sent them to his friends. Four days later he got a phone call claiming that he had just inherited $23,000,000. However, this proved to be a wrong number, and the caller hung up.

             Naresh Singh of Bombay got a chain letter threatening him and his loved ones with death if he broke the chain. But this Unchain letter had gotten to him first; so he wisely decided to use the chain letter as a substitute for scarce toilet paper. That afternoon, while he and his family were visiting the marketplace, a crazed fanatic brandished an AK-47 and attempted to mow down the crowd; but the lunatic had neglected to load his weapon, so he was quickly taken into custody.

            Pablo Fuentes of Lima was under this Unchain letter's protection when he got a chain letter promising him luck in the lottery. He sent out copies, and won nothing. Wen Xiao of Taipei received this letter, along with a chain letter; he took no action, and soon got a new job at equal pay.

            In 1984, a badly faded chain letter reached a young woman in Ontario. She promised that she would re-type the letter and send it on; but she delayed doing so. She was plagued by expensive car repairs until she received this Unchain letter. That very day she bought a new car, and her repair bills ceased.



Miss Liberty

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Miracle

    A Miracle

            One day a sage climbed very high
            And asked the mystic midnight sky,
            “O Universe, will I be missed?
            Will there be proof that I exist?
            And will my words traverse the land
            And always be in great demand?
            And will my name resound so far
            It echoes to the faintest star?
            In short, I ask you; will I be
            Condemned to immortality?”
            The earth did shake, the sky did glow
            The Cosmos loudly shouted, “NO!”
            Yet all its rage left sage unawed
            Who calmly murmured, “Oh, thank God!”


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lazy Dragon

                 Lazy Dragon

            My dragon has been sleeping in lately;
            lazing in bed, not awake, not asleep  
            yawning, stretching a jeweled wing, turning over
            closing his eyes, snoring smoky curlicues
            not quite dreaming the night
            not quite planning the day;
            hanging out.

            Stay in bed, dragon, at least for now
            get your dreamy creamy rest, you need it
            especially after yesterday.
            And what a day that was, dragon!
            Half asleep, you grin, your fangs show
            and you remember.

            You remember flying.
            You remember fighting.
            You remember breathing fire.
            You remember being wonder, being glory
            being beauty, power and terror.
            How magnificent you were, dragon,
            how hot and furious
            how exhausting...

            My dragon has been sleeping in lately;
            get your dreamy creamy rest, dragon, you need it
            so that when you wake up
            you can wake
            All the way up.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012



            Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane!
                        It’s Poetry!
            Yes, Poetry! Strange visitor of this strange planet,
                        Poetry possesses powers and abilities
                        far beyond those of mortal men.
            Poetry can change the course of mighty rivers,
                        and bend steel with the bare facts!
            Poetry is faster than a speeding bullet,
                        more powerful than a locomotive,
                        able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!
            Poetry fights a never-ending battle
                        for truth, justice and liberty;
            And best of all, Poetry
                        is disguised as a simple reporter.

Monday, May 14, 2012


               For W.B.


            Death came hunting for him.
            Death chased him out of his bed,
            out of his room,
            out of his house,
            out of his mind,
            out into the anonymous night
            with a belly full of pills,
            and a head full of light,
            and heart full of darkness
            from a life full of pain.
            Death chased him down to ground
            and he closed his eyes and waited
            and Death laughed -
            - but an angel came.
            The angel did not hover, nor did she carol.
            She was too distraught to be beautiful.
            She fluttered and shed feathers.
            Her raucous squawks kept the whole city awake.
            She howled like a copcar in Hell.
            She zigzagged madly, and thus she found him.
            The Angel of Love cried, "Darling! Hang on!
            9-1-1 is on the way!"
            Death fled, pursued by police.
            Blessed be Love!


            Death came hunting for you.
            Death surrounded you with its armies.
            Death invaded you with its spies.
            Death attacked you with its weapons.
            Death snared you, and speared you, and bagged you.
            Death took you against your will;
            Death raped you, and it laughed -
            - but an angel came.
            She looked out of your eyes and chuckled.
            "What fools these mortals be!" she said.
            "What folly these moralities!
            Did they think they could jail a thought?
            Or silence a word already spoken?
            And who said dead men tell no tales?
            Wasn't it a dead man?
            Is a man matter or mind? Well,
            is light a particle or a wave?
            You were never all here anyhow,
            so come quantum-tunnel out with me.
            Give me a piece of your mind.
            Your gracious hosts will never believe
            that their prisoner has already escaped!"
            So declared the Angel of Clarity.
            Blessed be Clarity!


            Death came hunting for me.
            Death didn't stand on ceremony;
            It just strolled right up and kicked me in the balls.
            Yow! For one whole week my right testis ached.
            Death whispered in my ear, "Why?"
            The sudden pain and swelling subsided, and I sighed.
            But the right ball still possessed, at its lower end
            A hard lump.
            Death whispered, "Why?"
            I had no answer, and Death laughed -
            - but an angel came.
            She grabbed Death by the throat
            rattled it like a puppet, and flung it down.
            "Hands off him, you thief!
            This boy's mine now!
            Haven't I seen him through worse than this?
            Haven't I dragged him right out of Hell?
            Wasn't it me who snatched him, with his world
            safe, whole and unsinged,
            right out a nuclear war?
            Haven't I taken him to a hilltop
            shown him the city by night
            and told him maybe we'll live after all?
            Behold, O Death! Already he consults the doctors;
            already he takes the medicines
            whose success makes him believe them all the more;
            and already he is better!
            And still you ask why?
            Well, I'll tell you!
            We don't care what your tricks are!
            We don't care what the odds are!
            We don't care what you are!
            Pick a game, any game; we'll play it!
            We are fighters and lovers;
            We choose to be free.
            We live; it is our joy.
            How can we explain it?
            We are beyond belief.
            O Death, you will never understand."
            So spoke the Angel of Hope.
            Blessed be Hope!